note that this is not a verbatim transcript of the Press Briefing. It is merely
Chartier, Head of Public Information Services, made the following statement:
Good morning to
regard to the on-going proceedings:
as scheduled in the Galic, Stakic, Simic and others and Brdjanin cases. The
hearings are public.
number of additional scheduling orders have been issued:
on 21 January,
Judge Fausto Pocar, pre-appeal Judge in the Blaskic case, ordered that the
status conference initially scheduled for today at 4.30 p.m. be cancelled:
Tihomir Blaskic "is unable to attend due to his health situation";
on 17 January,
Judge El Mahdi, pre-trial Judge in the Ljubicic case, ordered that a status
conference be held next Friday, 24 January at 3 p.m. in order to discuss on-going
preparations by the parties for the trial;
on 16 January,
Trial Chamber I (Judge Daqun, Judge El Mahdi and Judge Orie) ordered that
a further initial appearance be held in the case The Prosecutor vs. Milan
Martic. This further initial appearance will take place on Tuesday 28
January at 3 p.m. During this hearing, the accused will be asked to enter
a plea on the new charges against him contained in the amended
Indictment issued on 18 December 2002. Hard copies of this document were made
available at that time. It should be available in electronic form on the ICTY
internet site sometime this afternoon.
reminder that the initial appearance of Milan Milutinovic will take place
on Monday 27 January at 3 p.m.
with regard to recent decisions issued by the Chambers, the following are brought
to your attention:
On 16 January,
a Bench of the Appeals Chamber (Judge Hunt, presiding, Judge Guney and Judge
De Zoysa Gunawardana) decided on the renewed applications by Vidoje Blagojevic
and Dragan Obrenovic for leave to appeal against the decision of the Trial
Chamber on 19 November 2002 to again deny their provisional release. The Appeals
Chamber granted Vidoje Blagojevic leave to appeal but rejected Dragan Obrenovic’s
On 21 January,
the Trial Chamber in charge of the case The Prosecutor v. Bijlana Plavsic
(Judge May, Judge Robinson and Judge Kwon) granted the parties an extension
of time, namely until 11 February, to file their submissions "on the
effect, if any, [on their previous sentencing submissions] of the requirement
for Bijlana Plavsic to testify" in the Stakic case at the Chamber’s
request. These submissions were due on 20 January but the Defence requested
additional time in order to consult with the accused, and the Prosecution
did not oppose this request, also asking leave to file its submission at a
On 17 January,
the same Trial Chamber dealing this time with the case The Prosecutor v.
Slobodan Milosevic granted a Prosecution motion for admission in the ongoing
proceedings of the transcript of the testimony given on 2 February 1998 by
Ms. Vesna Bosanac, a doctor at the Vukvar Hospital, during the trial of Slavko
Dokmanovic. The accused (to whom this transcript was disclosed in May 2002)
will have the opportunity to cross-examine the witness, if he so wishes. The
transcript of the testimony of Vesna Bosanac can be found on the ICTY web-site,
in the Dokmanovic case, from pages 367 to 433.
Also, on 17
January, Trial Chamber II (Judge Schomburg, Judge Mumba, and Judge Agius)
granted Dragan Nikolic the requested certification to appeal against the dismissal,
by the Chamber, of his motion challenging the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.
terms of legal filings, the following :
In the case
The Prosecutor v. Pasko Ljubicic, the Defence filed on 21 January,
an "Additional clarification (…) for the issuance of a binding order
to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the production of documents"
In the case
The Prosecutor v. Momcilo Krajisnik, on 20 January, the Defence filed
a Motion to compel production of Rule 68 materials (ie: possibly exculpatory
material) and the Prosecution filed its response to the Defence application
for the withdrawal of a Judge.
In the case
The Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic, we have received the Prosecution’s
response to the objections raised by the amici curiae to the amended
expert report of Morten Torkildsen, including the submission of additional
15 January, the Defence for Dragan Nikolic filed its Defense pre-trial brief,
followed by the filing five days later of the Prosecution pre-trial brief.
usual, copies of most of the documents that have been mentioned have been prepared
for you. Copies of others can be requested from us, the only condition being,
that you be patient.
Hartmann, Spokeswoman for the Office of the Prosecutor, made the following statement:
I will be happy to answer any question along with Jean Jacques Joris the
advisor to the Prosecutor who is today present.
a journalist, Ambassador Pierre Prosper yesterday stated that, if Belgrade
delivered the remaining Vukovar Three by March 31, 2003, other war crimes
cases could be dealt with by domestic courts. He apparently went on to say
that if those three were delivered before the above deadline, the question
of war crimes would be practically closed. Asked for the OTP’s opinion concerning
these comments, taking into consideration the ongoing investigations which
could result in dozens of new indictees, who Prosper believed should be dealt
with by domestic courts. Hartmann replied that the feedback the OTP had received
concerning the statements made by Prosper in Belgrade was not exactly the
same as that of the journalist.
further that this was a seasonal thing, before March 31 each year Prosper
traveled extensively to the region to deliver strong messages. It was necessary,
therefore to be very clear as to exactly what Prosper had said this time in
Belgrade. The first point Prosper made was that Mladic and the other Vukovar
two had to be arrested and transferred to The Hague. This was a very important
point, it was valuable and helpful support on the part of the US. It was all
the more helpful since it was targeted and well defined. Ambassador Prosper
was not just saying that in general terms cooperation should be better. His
comments were very targeted and sent a message which was very realistic to
Yugoslavia. As everyone was aware, if there was the political will, these
three individuals could be arrested, he added.
on to quote Prosper as saying that ‘the majority of the remaining cases
can be done here in the domestic process’. Joris said that the OTP was
saying nothing different from this. When the OTP discussed remaining cases,
this referred to criminal cases relevant in the perspective of international
humanitarian law in the former Yugoslavia, not only Yugoslavia but in Bosnia
and Croatia as well. This represented hundreds of potential cases and perpetrators.
He said that it was absolutely obvious that the overwhelming majority of these
cases would have to be dealt with by the local jurisdictions.
and the President had consistently underlined that for the time being it was
not very likely to occur on that scale, but that it was more than desirable
as a necessary development for the region. Both Prosper and the OTP were of
the same opinion.
on to say that Prosper then commented on the cases of Karadzic and Mladic
‘if we resolve these high profile cases this war crimes issue will be behind
us’. Joris stated that obviously this Tribunal being an ad hoc
International Tribunal was about high profile cases. Karadzic and Mladic may
be the two most prominent of those high profile cases. If a state was in a
position and was willing to arrest high profile individuals indicted by the
Tribunal, the OTP did not see how it could not arrest the others. Once Karadzic
and Mladic were arrested nothing stood in the way of states arresting less
high profile individuals. This again was in line with what Prosper had said.
on behalf of the Tribunal as a whole, that the Tribunal welcomed any move,
he welcomed any statement or any action designed to secure the speedy arrest
and/or surrender of any accused. The Tribunal supported this even more forcefully
when it concerned high profile accused.
He went on
to remind the media that the three individuals mentioned by name by Prosper
were indicted by the Tribunal in 1995 and 1996. Their Indictment was outstanding
for too many years now. Their arrest should have taken place the day after
the Indictments were issued. As far as other parts of Ambassador Prosper’s
statements went, Chartier believed that Prosper could not have been referring
to anything other than ‘cases to be dealt with by the Serbian judiciary’ for
the reasons that Joris had specified. The Tribunal was not created to deal
with all cases and had said throughout it existence to date, that it had to
share this burden with national justice systems. If Mr. Prosper’s statement
was to be read as an invitation to the Serbain authorities to share their
part of the burden then the Tribunal welcomed it and supported it.
that Prosper’s statement should not be interpreted as a suggestion that at
any stage there would be a bargain between some ICTY cases against the others,
this could not be what he meant. This was not what the completion strategy
was all about.
Mr. Milutinovic’s health report, Chartier replied that Milutinovic upon his
arrival at the detention unit underwent the usual intake procedure, which
included a thorough medical check up. In Milutinovic’s case the check-up took
place in two phases. Milutinovic first had a general check-up on Monday afternoon.
Yesterday morning he had a cardiological check- up. His cardiologist was with
him during this. Chartier said that Milutinovic’s cardiologist discussed his
patient’s situation with the "ICTY cardiologist" and nothing specific
was reported. Milutonovic was settling down at the Detention Unit, Chartier
stated that the Prosecutor had said that she would, as usual, meet with Milutinovic
when he arrived in The Hague, asked if there were any further meetings planned,
Hartmann replied that she would like to make clear that the Prosecutor had
met with Milutinovic and that this was not something exceptional in the sense
that the Prosecutor always invited indictees arriving at the Tribunal to meet
with her. The meeting took place in the presence of his lawyers. The OTP would
not update the press of any further contacts they would have. Everything was
done in accordance with the Rules and the OTP was now in the preparation stage
of the trial which the OTP could not update the media on. Once the preparations
were finished the trial would start which would be a public stage of the proceedings.
Asked for the
criteria used by the Tribunal to decide what was and was not a high profile
case, Hartmann replied that this issue had been discussed on numerous occasions.
It was sometimes problematic because it depended on different points of view.
The OTP always mentioned that locally, the criteria was not the same as it
was for those with an overview of what happened in the former Yugoslavia.
She added that somebody seen as a so-called small or medium fish by the Tribunal
could be seen as the biggest fish for a municipality. For instance a chief
of police or civilian chief of a municipality could be the most important
war criminal for the local people because they were the ones who perhaps still
lived in that part of the country, preventing by their presence or actions
the return of people who were expelled or were refugees.
had a very clear mandate to prosecute those at the highest level. Those who
really could not be tried by the local authorities because of the position
they held and of the implications relating to this. Or it could be because
of political opposition to trying a particular accused or even because of
public opinion in the region. It was for this reason that the Tribunal tried
to deal with the highest responsible for the crimes. It was clear that
the tribunal tried to deal with the highest level of person within a region
that particular crimes were committed. Therefore, it was important and necessary
that the local judiciary deal with the remaining cases, those hundreds or
maybe thousands of cases which had to be opened by judiciary in the region
whether in Serbia, Bosnia or Croatia or where ever in the former Yugoslavia.
Asked to clarify
that there were there no negotiations going on concerning Bobetko and whether
there was an outcome on the medical team visit, Chartier replied that there
had never been any negotiations ongoing. The substance of the matter was as
follows, following a prosecution motion filed late last year, a Judge ordered
a report of the accused who was in hospital in Zagreb by two experts appointed
by the Tribunal. These experts were appointed earlier this year by the Registrar.
They went to Zagreb last week for two days during which time they visited
and examined Mr. Bobetko. The next thing they had to do was to file their
report, which was due either today or tomorrow. This report, he said in anticipation
to the next question, would be a confidential document and would go to the
Chamber. It was for the Judges to make a determination as to the way forward
in this case. This was where the case stood at this time, he concluded.
Asked for details
of the visit by Yugoslav doctors to Mr. Milosevic. Chartier said that the
visit would take place on Friday. It was not an expert or a counter expert
visit simply a normal visit. This was a follow-up on a wish expressed quite
some time ago by the accused to be able to talk to doctors from Belgrade.
As it was always the case for visit requests from any detainee, the Registrar
had authorised this visit. The visit was authorised by a letter to the accused
dated January 8, 2003. The Tribunal suggested the date of Friday 24 because
it knew that there would be a break in the proceedings. The Tribunal agreed
on the names of the doctors and pursuant to Rule 30 of the Rules of Detention
they were going to discuss with Mr. Milosevic his health situation, they would
be given access to his full medical records but they would not be able to
examine him themselves. The visit would take place at all times in the presence
of the Tribunal’s medical officer, who would perform on the accused any examination
that might be required. The visit would take place on Friday morning and would
last two hours. The doctors from Belgrade would not meet with any other detainees,
Asked why they
would not be allowed to physically examine him themselves, Chartier replied
that according to Rule 30 of the Rules of Detention, ‘any treatment or
medication would be performed by the medical officer of the Tribunal’.
The Tribunal was responsible for the medical care at the Detention Unit, so
the Tribunal would carry out anything requested. The doctors from Belgrade
may recommend treatment or medication. Should the medical officer agree with
them then he was the one who would administer this treatment or medication,
but it was also at his sole discretion to ‘refuse to administer the treatment’
The bottom line was that the Tribunal was responsible for the medical care
of the accused. This visit was a normal visit that just happened to be by
Asked to clarify
that they would only be able to discuss his health and read the medical records
and that it would not involve them having hands on contact with the accused,
Chartier replied that they would not handle the accused. The medical officer
would do that. This was normal procedure.
stated that Joris had said that Prosper gave valuable, very targeted support
on behalf of the US. Asked whether he was not disappointed that it was ‘seasonal’
and that other Governments, maybe European were not pushing much on these
issues, Joris replied that what was seasonal relating to these matters was
the fact that it surfaced proceeding March 31. The pressure was ongoing, it
was constant and targeted. For example the discussions around the addition
to the council of Europe. Membership of Yugoslavia’s partnership of peace
was one of the proclaimed objectives of Yugoslav foreign policy for 2002,
an objective that had not been met. Pressure was ongoing, coming not only
from the US but also from the European Union, from key member states and from
the commission. The Tribunal was very satisfied with that level of assistance
from the international community.
that pressure was not always public or seasonal, it was the attention given
to it that was sometimes seasonal.
Asked to comment
on the reports that people in Bosnia believed that the international community
was not as interested as it was a few years ago, Chartier replied that once
again this pressure was not always public or vocal so it did not always transpire
in the media.
that the OTP had been sufficiently critical of the international community
and of its main players whenever it felt that its support was not sufficient.
Pressure was ongoing, constant and serious, not only on Belgrade but on Zagreb
as well and that the public may not see the full extent of the pressure. This
was a consequence of a decision made by the players who chose to apply pressure
and who chose the modalities of that pressure, The OTP had no say in that.
To some extent pressure needed to be public so that public opinion in the
states of the former Yugoslavia get an accurate picture of the world they
were living in. The seasonal concentration of media attention on key issues
regarding Belgrade was a welcome thing. But, if the media followed attentively
what was aired every time there was a visit by foreign representatives, members
of the government, heads of states or ministers of foreign affairs to the
region, not only to Belgrade, it would see that their positions were consistent
and were quite explicit and some of them were extremely vocal, he concluded.
Asked if the
OPT was satisfied, Joris replied that the OTP was only satisfied with the
end results, which were not yet visible.